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Uxbridge advances downtown revitalization efforts


DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard


UXBRIDGE: Since August 2020, the Township of Uxbridge has been diligently working on its Downtown Revitalization Project (UDRP). With the Strategic and Action Plan approved in March of 2022, the initiative aims to enhance the economic development and social well-being of the downtown area. A significant boost came in 2023, with an OMAFRA Rural Economic Development grant which supports the project’s fourth goal: establishing downtown Uxbridge as a year-round destination for both residents and tourists.

The project, a collaborative effort, involving Uxbridge Tourism, the Downtown Revitalization Advisory Committee, the BIA, the Uxbridge Farmers Market, and Durham Region Tourism, focuses on making downtown Uxbridge vibrant and attractive. Financial support from the Farmers Market, the BIA, and Invest Durham has been pivotal in moving forward.

Key objectives include: increasing downtown visitation, fostering partnerships for long-term marketing, and tracking visitor numbers. Three strategies drive these efforts: hosting and promoting events, cross-promoting to boost foot traffic, and marketing the downtown area to a broad audience.

Notable events, such as the Holiday Trail and the Farmer’s Market Harvest Festival, continue to be supported. New initiatives, like the Downtown Summer Social, on July 21st, and an event aligned with Autofest, on August 25th, are expected to draw crowds. Collaboration has enhanced events like the Springtide Music Festival, in June, and Lucy Maud Montgomery 150th anniversary celebrations, all promoted via the Discover Uxbridge event calendar.

Efforts also include developing signage and promotional campaigns, and leveraging social media for better outreach. Township staff proposed creating dedicated social media accounts for Downtown Uxbridge, to ensure comprehensive promotion. Existing accounts, from various partners, will amplify these messages, while the Discover Uxbridge website will serve as the central information hub. Ms. Baskin also noted, at a recent council meeting, the downtown, as destination project’s grant, will also cover an events coordinator, to work three days a week and act as the “boots on the ground” at these local events.

In preparation for the July and August events, Council support was sought for partial parking lot closures, to accommodate activities. The recommendation was unanimously passed by councillors, at their meeting, on the morning of Monday, May 27th  which should help clear the path for those events to occur. Local businesses are eager to participate, ensuring the success of the revitalization efforts. With ongoing support, downtown Uxbridge is poised to thrive as a lively, year-round destination.

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